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Clemens, Samuel Langhome 
King Leopold's soliloguy 











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KING LEOPOLD'S SOLILOQUY 



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"IT IS I" 

"Leopold II is the absolute 
Master of the whole of the in- 
ternal and external activity of 
the Independent State of the 
Congo. The organization '^of 
justice, the army, the industrial 
and commercial regimes are established freely by himself 
He would say, and with greater accuracy than did Louis XIV. 
' The State, it is I.'" Prof. F. Cattier, Brussels University 
" Let us repeat after so many others what has become 
a platitude, the success of the African work is the work 
a sole directing will, without being hampered by the hesital 
tion of timorous politicians, carried out under his sole respo: 
sibility, — intelligent, thought- 
ful, conscious of the perils 
and the advantages, dis- 
counting with an admirable 
prescience the great results of 
a;near future." M. Alfred Pos- 
kine in " Bilans Congolais." 



ne 

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" A memorial for the perpetuation ot my name." — 



KING LEOPOLD'S 
SOLILOQUY 

A DEFENSE OF HIS CONGO RULE 



BY 

MARK TWAIN 



THE P. R. WARREN CO. 

BOSTON, MASS. 
1905 




Copyright, 1905 
By Samuel L. Clemens 



2>T 



King Leopold's Soliloquy 



{^ThrotiS down pamphlets which he has been 
reading. Excitedly combs his flowing spread of 
whiskers with his fingers; pounds the table with 
his fists; lets off brisk volleys of unsanctified Ian- 
guage at brief intervals, repentantly drooping 
his head, between volleys, and kissing the Louis 
XI crucifix hanging from his neck, accompany- 
ing the kisses with mumbled apologies; presently 
rises, flushed and perspiring, and walks the 
floor, gesticulating'l 

! ! ! ! If I had them by 

the throat! [Hastily kisses the crucifix, and 
mumbles] In these twenty years I have spent 
millions to keep the press of the two hemi- 
spheres quiet, and still these leaks keep on oc- 
curring. I have spent other millions on religion 
and art, and what do I get for it? Nothing. 
Not a compliment. These generosities are 
studiedly ignored, in print. In print I get noth- 
ing but slanders — and slanders again — and still 
slanders, and slanders on top of slanders 1 Grant 
them true, what of it? They are slanders all the 
same, when uttered against a king. 

Miscreants — they are telling everything/ 
Oh, everything: how I went pilgriming among 



KING LEOPOLD'S SOLILOQUY 

the Powers in tears, with my mouth full of Bible 
and my pelt oozing piety at every pore, and im- 
plored them to place the vast and rich and pop- 
ulous Congo Free State in trust in my hands as 
their agent, so that I might root out slavery and 
stop the slave raids, and lift up those twenty-five 
millions of gentle and harmless blacks out of 
darkness into light, the light of our blessed Re- 
deemer, the light that streams from his holy 
Word, the light that makes glorious our noble 
civilization — lift them up and dry their tears 
and fill their bruised hearts with joy and grati- 
tude — lift them up and make them comprehend 
that they were no longer outcasts and forsaken, 
but our very brothers in Christ; how America 
and thirteen great European states wept in sym- 
pathy with me, and were persuaded; how their 
representatives met in convention in Berlin and 
made me Head Foreman and Superintendent of 
the Congo State, and drafted out my powers and 
limitations, carefully guarding the persons and 
liberties and properties of the natives against 
hurt and harm; forbidding whisky traffic and 
gun traffic; providing courts of justice; making 
commerce free and fetterless to the merchants 
and traders of all nations, and welcoming and 
safe-guarding all missionaries of all creeds and 
denominations. They have told how I planned 
and prepared my establishment and selected my 
horde of officials — "pals" and "pimps" of mine, 



KING LEOPOLD'S SOLILOQUY 



"unspeakable Belgians" every one — and hoisted 
my flag, and "took in" a President of the United 
States, and got him to be the first to recognize it 
and salute it. Oh, well, let them blackguard me 
if they like; it is a deep satisfaction to me to 
remember that I was a shade too smart for 
that nation that thinks itself so 
smart. Yes, I certainly did bunco 
a Yankee — as those people 
phrase it. Pirate flag? 
Let them call it so — 
perhaps it is. All the 
same, they were the 
first to salute it. 

These meddlesome 
American mission- 
aries ! these frank Brit- 
ish consuls ! these blab- 
bing Belgian-born traitor officials ! — those tire- 
some parrots are always talking, always telling. 
They have told how for twenty years I have 
ruled the Congo State not as a trustee of the 
Powers, an agent, a subordinate, a fore- 
man, but as a sovereign — sovereign over a 
fruitful domain four times as large as the 
German Empire — sovereign absolute, irres- 
ponsible, above all law; trampling the 
Berlin-made Congo charter under foot; bar- 
ring out all foreign traders but myself; re- 
stricting commerce to myself, through conces- 




"They were the first to 
salute it." 



KING LEOPOLD'S SOLILOQUY 

sionaires who are my creatures and confederates; 
seizing and holding the State as my personal 
property, the whole of its vast revenues as my 
private "swag" — mine, solely mine — claiming 
and holding its millions of people as my private 
property, my serfs, my slaves; their labor mine, 
with or without wage; the food they raise not 
their property but mine; the rubber, the ivory 
and all the other riches of the land mine — mine 
solely — and gathered for me by the men, the 
women and the little children under compulsion 
of lash and bullet, fire, starvation, mutilation and 
the halter. 

These pests! — it is as I say, they have kept 
back nothing! They have revealed these and 
yet other details which shame should have kept 
them silent about, since they were exposures of a 
king, a sacred personage and immune from re- 
proach, by right of his selection and appoint- 
ment to his great office by God himself; a king 
whose acts cannot be criticized without blas- 
phemy, since God has observed them from the 
beginning and has manifested no dissatisfaction 
with them, nor shown disapproval of them, nor 
hampered nor interrupted them in any way. By 
this sign I recognize his approval of what I have 
done; his cordial and glad approval, I am sure 
I may say. Blest, crowned, beatified with this 
great reward, this golden reward, this unspeak- 
ably precious reward, why should I care for 

6 



KING LEOPOLD'S SOLILOQUY 

men's cursings and revllings of me? [fFith a 
sudden outburst of feeling^ May they roast a 
million seons in — [Catches his breath and effu- 
sively kisses the crucifix; sorrowfully murmurs, 
"I shall get myself damned yet, with these indis- 
cretions of speech. "~\ 

Yes, they go on telling everything, these chat- 
terers ! They tell how I levy incredibly burden- 
some taxes upon the natives — taxes which are a 
pure theft; taxes which they must satisfy by 
gathering rubber under hard and constantly 
harder conditions, and by raising and furnishing 
food supplies gratis — and it all comes out that, 
when they fall short of their tasks through hun- 
ger, sickness, despair, and ceaseless and exhaust- 
ing labor without rest, and forsake their homes 
and flee to the woods to escape punishment, my 
black soldiers, drawn from unfriendly tribes, 
and instigated and directed by my Belgians, hunt 
them down and butcher them and burn their 
villages — reserving some of the girls. They 
tell it all: how I am wiping a nation of friend- 
less creatures out of existence by every form of 
murder, for my private pocket's sake."^ut they 
never say, although they know it, that I have 
labored in the cause of religion at the same time 
and all the time, and have sent missionaries there 
(of a "convenient stripe," as they phrase it), to 
teach them the error of their ways and bring 
them to Him who is all mercy and love, and who 



KING LEOPOLD'S SOLILOQUY 

is the sleepless guardian and friend of all who 
suffer. They tell only what is against me, they 
will not tell what is in my favor. 

They tell how England required of me a 
Commission of Inquiry into Congo atrocities, 
and how, to quiet that meddling country, with its 
disagreeable Congo Reform Association, made 
up of earls and bishops and John Morleys and 
university grandees and other dudes, more inter- 
ested in other people's business than in their own, 
I appointed it. Did it stop their mouths? No, 
they merely pointed out that it was a commis- 
sion composed wholly of my "Congo butchers," 
"the very men whose acts were to be inquired 
into." They said it was equivalent to appoint- 
ing a commission of wolves to inquire into dep- 
redations committed upon a sheepfold. Noth- 
ing can satisfy a cursed Englishman!* 

And are the fault-finders frank, with my pri- 

•Recent information is to the effect that the resident mission- 
aries found the commission as a whole apparently interested to 
promote reforms. One of its members was a leading Congo official, 
another an official of the government in Belgium, the third a Swiss 
jurist. The commission's report will reach the public only through 
the king, and will be whatever he consents to make it; it is not 
yet forthcoming, though six months have passed since the investigation 
was made. There is, however, abundant evidence that horrible abuses 
were found and conceded, the testimony of missionaries, which had 
been scouted by the king's defenders, being amply vindicated. One 
who was present at one hearing of the commission writes: "Men of 
stone would be moved by the stories that are being unfolded as the 
commission probes into the awful history of rubber collection." Cer- 
tain reforms were ordered in the one section visited, but the latest 
word is that after the commission's departure, conditions soon be- 
came worse than before its coming. Very well, then, the king has in- 
vestigated himself. One stage is achieved. The next one in order 
is the investigation of conditions in the Congo State by the Powers 
responsible for the creation of the Congo State. The United States 
is one of these. Such an investigation is advocated by Lyman 
Abbott, Henry Van Dyke, David Starr Jordan and other prominent 
citizens in a petition to Congress. — M. T. 

8 




"They tell only what is against me." — Page 8. 



KING LEOPOLD'S SOLILOQUY 

vate character? They could not be more so if 
I were a plebeian, a peasant, a mechanic. They 
remind the world that from the earliest days my 
house has been chapel and brothel combined, 
and both industries working full time; that I 
practised cruelties upon my queen and my 
daughters, and supplemented them with daily 
shame and humiliations; that, when my queen 
lay in the happy refuge of her coffin, and a 
daughter implored me on her knees to let her 
look for the last time upon her mother's face, I 
refused; and that, three years ago, not being 
satisfied with the stolen spoils of a whole alien 
nation, I robbed my own child of her property 
and appeared by proxy in court, a spectacle to 
the civilized world, to defend the act and com- 
plete the crime. It is as I have said : they are un- 
fair, unjust; they will resurrect and give new 
currency to such things as those, or to any other 
things that count against me, but they will not 
mention any act of mine that is in my favor. I 
have spent more money on art than any other 
monarch of my time, and they know it. Do 
they speak of it, do they tell about it? No, 
they do not. They prefer to work up what they 
call "ghastly statistics" into offensive kindergar- 
ten object lessons, whose purpose is to make sen- 
timental people shudder, and prejudice them 
against me. They remark that "if the innocent 
blood shed in the Congo State by King Leopold 



KING LEOPOLD'S SOLILOQUY 

were put in buckets and the buckets placed side 
by side, the line would stretch 2,000 miles; if 
the skeletons of his ten millions of starved and 
butchered dead could rise up and march In single 
file, it would take them seven months and four 
days to pass a given point; if compacted together 
in a body, they would occupy more ground than 
St. Louis covers, World's Fair and all; If they 
should all clap their bony hands at once, the 
grisly crash would be heard at a distance of — " 
Damnation, it makes me tired! And they do 
similar miracles with the money I have distilled 
from that blood and put into my pocket. They 
pile it into Egyptian pyramids; they carpet Sa- 
haras with it; they spread it across the sky, and 
the shadow it casts makes twilight in the earth. 
And the tears I have caused, the hearts I have 
broken — oh, nothing can persuade them to let 
them alone 1 

{^Meditative pause'\ Well ... no matter, I 
did beat the Yankees, anyway ! there's comfort in 
that. [Reads with mocking smile, the Presi- 
dent's Order of Recognition of April 22, 18841 

" . . . the government of the United States announces 
its sympathy with and approval of the humane and benev- 
olent purposes of (my Congo scheme), and will order the 
officers of the United States, both on land and sea, to rec- 
ognize its flag as the flag of a friendly government." 

Possibly the Yankees would like to take that 
back, now, but they will find that my agents are 

10 



KING LEOPOLD'S SOLILOQUY 

not over there in America for nothing. But 
there is no danger; neither nations nor govern- 
ments can afford to confess a blunder. [fFith 
a contented smile, begins to read from "Report 
by Rev. W . M. Morrison, American mission- 
ary in the Congo Free State"} 

"I furnish herewith some of the many atrocious incidents 
which have come under my own personal observation; they 
reveal the organixed system of plunder and outrage which has 
been perpetrated and is now being carried on in that unfortu- 
nate country by King Leopold of Belgium. I say King 
Leopold, because he and he alone is now responsible, since 
he is the absolute sovereign. He styles himself such. When 
our government in 1884 laid the foundation of the Congo 
Free State, by recognizing its flag, little did it know that this 
concern, parading under the guise of philantliropy, was really 
King Leopold of Belgium, one of the shrewdest, most heart- 
less and most conscienceless rulers that ever sat on a throne. 
This is apart from his known corrupt morals, which have 
made his name and his family a byword in two continents. 
Our government would most certainly not have recognized 
that flag had it known that' it was really King Leopold indi- 
vidually who" was asking for recognition ; had it known that 
it was setting up in the heart of Africa an absolute monarchy; 
had it known that, having put down African slavery in our 
own country at great cost of blood and money, it was estab- 
lishing a worse form of slavery right in Africa." 

[fFith evil joy] Yes, I certainly was a shade 
too clever for the Yankees. It hurts ; it gravels 
them. They can't get over it! Puts a shame 
upon them in another way, too, and a graver 

II 



KING LEOPOLD'S SOLILOQUY 



way; for they never can rid their records of the 
reproachful fact that their vain Republic, self- 
appointed Champion and Promoter of the Liber- 
ties of the World, is the only democracy in his- 
tory that has lent its power and influence to the 
establishing of an absolute monarchy! 

{^Contemplating, with an unfriendly eye, a 
stately pile of pamphlets^ Blister the meddle- 
some missionaries I They write tons of these 
things. They seem to be always around, always 
spying, always eye-witness- 
ing the happenings; and 
everything they see they 
commit to paper. They 
are always prowling from 
place to place; the natives 
consider them their only 
friends; they go to them 
with their sorrows; they 
show them their scars and 
their wounds, inflicted by 
my soldier police; they hold up the stumps of 
their arms and lament because their hands have 
been chopped off, as punishment for not bring- 
ing in enough rubber, and as proof to be laid be- 
fore my officers that the required punishment 
was well and truly carried out. One of these 
missionaries saw eighty-one of these hands dry- 
ing over a fire for transmission to my officials — 
and of course he must go and set it down and 




'They go to them 

with their sorrows" 



KING LEOPOLD'S SOLILOQUY 

print it. They travel and travel, they spy and 
spy! And nothing is too trivial for them to 
print. [ Takes up a pamphlet. Reads a passage 
from Report of a "Journey made in July, August 
and September, jgoj, by Rev. A. E. Scri- 
vener, a British missionary"'} 

** .... Soon we began talking, and without any en- 
couragement on my part the natives began the tales I had 
become so accustomed to. They were living in peace and 
quietness when the white men came in from the lake with all 
sorts of requests to do this and that, and they thought it 
meant slavery. So they attempted to keep the white men 
out of their country but without avail. The rifles were too 
much for them. So they submitted and made up their minds 
to do the best they could under the altered circumstances. 
First came the command to build houses for the soldiers, and 
this was done without a murmur. Then they had to feed 
the soldiers and all the men and women — hangers on — who 
accompanied them. Then they were told to bring in rubber. 
This was quite a new thing for them to do. There was 
rubber in the forest several days away from their home, but 
that it was worth anything was news to them. A small 
reward was offered and a rush was made for the rubber. 
* What strange white men, to give us cloth and beads for 
the sap of a wild vine.* They rejoiced in what they thought 
their good fortune. But soon the reward was reduced imtil 
at last they were told to bring in the rubber for nothing. 
To this they tried to demur ; but to their great surprise several 
were shot by the soldiers, and the rest were told, with many 
curses and blows, to go at once or more would be killed. 
Terrified, they began to prepare their food for the fortnight's 
absence from the village which the collection of rubber en- 

13 



KING LEOPOLD'S SOLILOQUY 

tailed. The soldiers discovered them sitting about. 'What, 
not gone yet ?' Bang ! bang ! bang ! and down fell one and 
another, dead, in the midst of wives and companions. 
There is a terrible wail and an attempt made to prepare the 
dead for burial, but this is not allowed. All must go at once 
to the forest. Without food? Yes, without food. And 
off the poor wretches had to go without even their tinder 
boxes to make fires. Many died in the forests of hunger 
and exposure, and still more from the rifles of the ferocious 
soldiers in charge of the post. In spite of all their efforts the 
amount fell off and more and more were killed. I was 
shown around the place, and the sites of former big chiefs' 
settlements were pointed out. A careful estimate made the 
population of, say, seven years ago, to be 2,000 people in 
and about the post, within a radius of, say, a quarter of a 
mile. All told, they would not muster 200 now, and there 
is so much sadness and gloom about them that they are fast 
decreasing." 

'* We stayed there all day on Monday and had many talks 
with the people. On the Sunday some of the boys had told 
me of some bones which they had seen, so on the Monday 
I asked to be shown these bones. Lying about on the grass, 
within a few yards of the house I was occupying, were 
numbers of human skulls, bones, in some cases complete 
skeletons. I counted thirty-six skulls, and saw many sets o* 
bones from which the skulls were missing. I called one o^ 
the men and asked the meaning of it. 'When the rubber 
palaver began,' said he, 'the soldiers shot so many we 
grew tired of burying, and very often we were not 
allowed to bury ; and so just dragged the bodies out into the 
grass and left them. There are hundreds all around if you 
would like to see them.' But I had seen more than enough, 
and was sickened by the stories that came from men and 

14 



KING LEOPOLD'S SOLILOQUY 




"Some bones which 
they had seen" 

tor thankfulness. 



women alike of 
the awful time 
they had passed through. 
The Bulgarian atrocities 
might be considered as 
mildness itself when compared 
with what was done here. How 
the people submitted I don't know, 
and even now I wonder as I think of 
their patience. That some of them 
managed to run away is some cause 
I stayed there two days and the one 
thing that impressed itself upon me was the collection of 
rubber. I saw long files of men come in, as at Bongo, with 
their little baskets under their arms ; saw them paid their milk 
tin flail of salt, and the two yards of calico flung to the head- 
men ; saw their trembling timidity, and in &ct a great deal 
that all went to prove the state of terrorism that exists and 
the virtual slavery in which the people are held." 

That is their way; they spy and spy, and run 
into print with every foolish trifle. And that 
British consul, Mr. Casement, is just like them. 
He gets hold of a diary which had been kept by 

IS 



KING LEOPOLD'S SOLILOQUY 

one of my government officers, and, although it 
is a private diary and intended for no eye but its 
owner's, Mr. Casement is so lacking in delicacy 
and refinement as to print passages from it. 
[Reads a passage from the diary'\ 

" Each time the corporal goes out to get rubber, cartridges 
are given him. He must bring back all not used, and for every 
one used he must bring back a right hand. M. P. told me 
that sometimes they shot a cartridge at an animal in hunting; 
they then cut off a hand from a living man. As to the 
extent to which this is carried on, he informed me that in 
six months the State on the Mambogo River had used 6,000 
cartridges, which means that 6,000 people are killed or 
mutilated. It means more than 6,000, for the people have 
told me repeatedly that the soldiers kill the children with the 
butt of their guns." 

When the subtle consul thinks silence will be 
more effective than words, he employs it. Here 
he leaves it to be recognized that a thousand 
killings and mutilations a month is a large out- 
put for so small a region as the Mambogo River 
concession, silently indicating the dimensions of 
it by accompanying his report with a map of the 
prodigious Congo State, in which there is not 
room for so small an object as that river. That 
silence is intended to say, "If it is a thousand a 
month in this little corner, imagine the output of 
the whole vast State 1" A gentleman would not 
descend to these furtivenesses. 

Now as to the mutilations. You can't head 
16 



^ 



//////. ■ -^fn!:<;V '//' 



'//j//'fninfni^. :mm,\\\i\\i 




FOOT ANO HANO OF C^ILQ OiSMEMBERED Sv SOLDIERS, 8R0UG-T 
TO MrSSIOKARlES BY DAZfO FAThEB. FROM PHOTOGRAPH TAKEN AT 
BARINGA, CONGO STATE, MAY 13, 1904. SEE MEMORIAL TO 
CONGRESS, JAN., 190S 



♦* Imagine the output of the whole vast State! " Page i6. 



KING LEOPOLD'S SOLILOQUY 

off a Congo critic and make him stay headed- 
off; he dodges, and straightway comes back, at 
you from another direction. They are full of 
slippery arts. When the mutilations (severing 
hands, unsexing men, etc. ) began to stir Europe, 
we hit upon the idea of excusing them with a 
retort which we judged would knock them dizzy 
on that subject for good and all, and leave them 
nothing more to say; to wit, we boldly laid the 
custom on the natives, and said we did not invent 
it, but only followed it. Did it knock them 
dizzy? did it shut their mouths? Not for an 
hour. They dodged, and came straight back at 
us with the remark that "if a Christian king can 
perceive a saving moral difference between in- 
venting bloody barbarities, and imitating them 
from savages, for charity's sake let him get what 
comfort he can out of his confession!" 

It is most amazing, the way that that consul 
acts — that spy, that busy-body, [Takes up 
pamphlet "Treatment of Women and Children 
in the Congo State; what Mr. Casement Saw 
in IQOS"^ Hardly two years ago! Intrud- 
ing that date upon the public was a piece of 
cold malice. It was intended to weaken the 
force of my press syndicate's assurances to the 
public that my severities in the Congo ceased, 
and ceased utterly, years and years ago. This 
man is fond of trifles — revels in them, gloats 
over them, pets them, fondles them, sets them 

17 



KING LEOPOLD'S SOLILOQUY 

all down. One doesn't need to drowse through 
his monotonous report to see that; the mere sub- 
headings of its chapters prove it. [Reads^ 

"Two hundred and forty persons, men, women and children ^ 
compelled to supply government with one ton of carefully 
prepared foodstuffs per week, receiving in remuneration, all 
told, the princely sum of i 5s. lod! " 

Very well, it was liberal. It was not much 
short of a penny a week for each nigger. It 
suits this consul to belittle it, yet he knows very 
well that I could have had both the food and the 
labor for nothing. I can prove it by a thousand 
instances. \Keads\ 

" Expedition against a village behindhand in its (com- 
pulsory) supplies; result, slaughter of sixteen persons; among 
them three women and a boy of five years. Ten carried 
off, to be prisoners till ransomed ; among them a child, who 
died during the march." 

But he is careful not to explain that we are 
obliged to resort to ransom to collect debts, 
where the people have nothing to pay with. 
Families that escape to the woods sell some of 
their members into slavery and thus provide the 
ransom. He knows that I would stop this if I 
could find a less objectionable way to collect 
their debts. . . . Mm — here is some more of 
the consul's delicacy ! He reports a conversation 
he had with some natives : 

Q. "How do you know it was the wi>ite men them- 
18 



KING LEOPOLD'S SOLILOQUY 

selves who ordered these cruel things to be done to you? 
These things must have been done without the white man's 
knowledge by the black soldiers." 

A. <♦ The white men told their soldiers : * You only kill 
women; you cannot kill men. You must prove that you 
kill men.' So then the soldiers when they killed us" (here 
he stopped and hesitated and then pointing to ... he said:) 
**then they . . . and took them to the white men, who 
said : * It is true, you have killed men.'' " 

Q. **You say this is true ? Were many of you so treated 
after being shot ? ' * 

All [shouting out] : "Nkoto ! Nkoto !" ("Very many ! 
Very many !") 

There was no doubt that these people were not inventing. 
Their vehemence, their flashing eyes, their excitement, were 
not simulated." 

Of course the critic had to divulge that; he 
has no self-respect. All his kind reproach me, 
although they know quite well that I took no 
pleasure in punishing the men in that particular 
way, but only did it as a warning to other delin- 
quents. Ordinary punishments are no good with 
ignorant savages; they make no impression. 
[Reads more sub-heads] 

**Deva8ted region; population reduced from 40,000 to 
8,000." 

He does not take the trouble to say how it 
happened. He is fertile in concealments. He 
hopes his readers and his Congo reformers, 
of the Lord-Aberdeen-Norbury-John-Morley-Sir 

19 



KING LEOPOLD'S SOLILOQUY 

Gilbert-Parker stripe, will think they were all 
killed. They were not. The great majority of 
them escaped. They fled to the bush with their 
families because of the rubber raids, and it was 
there they died of hunger. Could we help that? 
One of my sorrowing critics observes: "Other 
Christian rulers tax their people, but furnish 
schools, courts of law, roads, light, water and 
protection to life and limb in return; King Leo- 
pold taxes his stolen nation, but provides nothing 
in return but hunger, terror, grief, shame, cap- 
tivity, mutilation and massacre." That is their 
style ! I furnish "nothing" ! I send the gospel 
to the survivors; these censure-mongers know 
it, but they would rather have their tongues cut 
out than mention it. I have several times re- 
quired my raiders to give the dying an oppor- 
tunity to kiss the sacred emblem; and if they 
obeyed me I have without doubt been the humble 
•means of saving many souls. None of my tra- 
ducers have had the fairness to mention this; but 
let it pass ; there is One who has not overlooked 




KING LEOPOLD'S SOLILOQUY 

it, and that Is my solace, that is my consolation. 

[Puts down the Report, takes up a pamphlet, 
glances along the middle of /"/] 

This is where the "death-trap" comes in. 
Meddlesome missionary spying around — Rev. 
W. H. Sheppard. Talks with a black raider of 
mine after a raid; cozens him into giving away 
some particulars. The raider remarks: 

** I demanded 30 slaves from this side of the stream and 30 
from the other side; 2 points of ivory, 2,500 balls of rubber, 
1 3 goats, I o fowls and 6 dogs, some com chumy, etc. 

' How did the fight come up ? ' I asked. 

* I sent for all their chiefs, sub-chiefs, men and women, to 
come on a certain day, saying that I was going to finish all 
the palaver. When they entered these small gates (the walls 
being made of fences brought from other villages, the high 
native ones) I demanded all my pay or I would kill them ; 
so they refused to pay me, and I ordered the fence to be 
closed so they couldn't run away ; then we killed them here 
inside the fence. The panels of the fence fell down and 
some escaped.' 

* How many did you kill ?' I asked. 

* We killed plenty, will you see some of them ? * 
That was just what I wanted. 

He said : • I think we have killed between eighty and ninety, 
and those in the other villages I don't know, I did not go 
oat but sent my people.' 

He and I walked out on the plain just near the camp. 
There were three dead bodies with the flesh carved off from 
the waist down. 

* Why are they carved so, only leaving the bones ? ' I asked. 
« My people ate them,' he answered promptly. He then 

21 



KING LEOPOLD'S SOLILOQUY 

explained, ♦ The men who have young children do not eat 
people, but all the rest ate them.' On the left was a big 
man, shot in the back and without a head. (All these 
corpses were nude.) 

* Where is the man's head ? ' I asked. 

* Oh, they made a bowl of the forehead to rub up tobacco 
and diamba in.' 

We continued to walk and examine until late in the after- 
noon, and counted forty-one bodies. The rest had been 
eaten up by the people. 

On returning to the camp, we crossed a young woman, 
shot in the back of the head, one hand was cut away. I 
asked why, and Mulunba N'Cusa explained that they always 
cut off the right hand to give to the State on their return. 

* Can you not show me some of the hands ? ' I asked. 

So he conducted us to a framework of sticks, under which 
was burning a slow fire, and there they were, the right hands 
— I counted them, eighty-one in all. 

There were not less than sixty women (Bena Pianga) 
prisoners. I saw them. 

We all say that we have as fully as possible investigated 
the whole outrage, and find it was a plan previously made to 
get all the stuff" possible and to catch and kill the poor people 
in the ' death-trap.' " 

Another detail, as we see! — cannibalism. 
They report cases of it with a most offensive fre- 
quency. My traducers do not forget to remark 
that, inasmuch as I am absolute and with a 
word can prevent in the Congo anything I 
choose to prevent, then whatsoever is done there 
by my permission is my act, my personal act; 
that / do it; that the hand of my agent is as truly 




IIULUNB* OlEF Of CAI.M3AL THIBE IIE*K LUEBO, CONGO STATE 
FIGURE REPBODUCEO FBOU PVOTOGBAFH 



**MuIunba N'Cusa explained." — Page 22. 



KING LEOPOLD'S SOLILOQUY 

my hand as if it were attached to my own arm; 
and so they picture me in my robes of state, with 
my crown on my head, munching human flesh, 
saying grace, mumbling thanks to Him from 
whom all good things come. Dear, dear, when 
the soft-hearts get hold of a thing like that mis- 
sionary's contribution they quite lose their tran- 
quility over it They speak out profanely and 
reproach Heaven for allowing such a fiend to 
live. Meaning me. They think it irregular. 
They go shuddering around, brooding over the 
reduction of that Congo population from 25, 
000,000 to 15,000,000 in the twenty years of 
my administration; then they burst out and call 
me "the King with Ten Million Murders on his 
Soul." They call me a "record." The most of 
them do not stop with charging merely the 10,- 
000,000 against me. No, they reflect that but 
for me the population, by natural increase, would 
now be 30,000,000, so they charge another 5,- 
000,000 against me and make my total death- 
harvest 15,000,000. They remark that the man 
who killed the goose that laid the golden egg was 
responsible for the eggs she would subsequently 
have laid if she had been let alone. Oh, yes, 
they call me a "record." They remark that 
twice in a generation, in India, the Great Famine 
destroys 2,000,000 out of a population of 
320,000,000, and the whole world holds up its 
hands in pity and horror ; then they fall to won- 

23 



KING LEOPOLD'S SOLILOQUY 

dering where the world would find room for its 
emotions if I had a chance to trade places with 
the Great Famine for twenty years! The idea 
fires their fancy, and they go on and imagine the 
Famine coming in state at the end of the twenty 
years and prostrating itself before me, saying: 
"Teach me. Lord, I perceive that I am but an 
apprentice." And next they imagine Death 
coming, with his scythe and hour-glass, and beg- 
ging me to marry his daughter and reorganize 
his plant and run the business. For the whole 
world, you see! By this time their diseased 
minds are under full steam, and they get down 
their books and expand their labors, with me for 
text. They hunt through all biography for my 
match, working Attila, Torquemada, Ghengis 
Khan, Ivan the Terrible, and the rest of that 
crowd for all they are worth, and evilly exulting 
when they cannot find it. Then they examine 
the historical earthquakes and cyclones and bliz- 
zards and cataclysms and volcanic eruptions: 
verdict, none of them "in it" with me. At last 
they do really hit it (as they think), and they 
close their labors with conceding — reluctantly — 
that I have one match in history, but only one — 
the Flood. This is intemperate. 

But they are always that, when they think of 
me. They can no more keep quiet when my 
name is mentioned than can a glass of water con- 
trol its feelings with a seidlitz powder in its 

»4 



KING LEOPOLD'S SOLILOQUY 

bowels. The bizarre things they can imagine, 
with me for an inspiration! One Englishman 
offers to give me the odds of three to one and bet 
me anything I like, up to 20,000 guineas, 
that for 2,000,000 years I am going to be the 
most conspicuous foreigner in hell. The man 
is so beside himself with anger that he does not 
perceive that the idea is foolish. Foolish and 
unbusinesslike: you see, there could be no win- 
ner; both of us would be losers, on account of 
the loss of interest on the stakes; at four or five 
per cent, compounded, this would amount to — 
I do not know how much, exactly, but, by the 
time the term was up and the bet payable, a per- 
son could buy hell itself with the accumulation. 
Another madman wants to construct a memo- 
rial for the perpetuation of my name, out of my 
15,000,000 skulls and skeletons, and is full of 
vindictive enthusiasm over his strange project. 
He has it all ciphered out and drawn to scale. 
Out of the skulls he will build a combined monu- 
ment and mausoleum to me which shall exactly 
duplicate the Great Pyramid of Cheops, whose 
base covers thirteen acres, and whose apex is 
451 feet above ground. He desires to stuff me 
and stand me up in the sky on that apex, robed 
and crowned, with my "pirate flag" in one hand 
and a butcher-knife and pendant handcuffs in the 
other. He will build the pyramid in the centre 
of a depopulated tract, a brooding solitude cov- 

25 



KING LEOPOLD'S SOLILOQUY 

ered with weeds and the mouldering ruins of 
burned villages, where the spirits of the starved 
and murdered dead will voice their laments for- 
ever in the whispers of the wandering winds. 
Radiating from the pyramid, like the spokes of a 
wheel, there are to be forty grand avenues qf 
approach, each thirty-five miles long, and each 
fenced on both sides by skulless skeletons stand- 
ing a yard and a half apart and festooned to- 
gether in line by short chains stretching from 
wrist to wrist and attached to tried and true old 
handcuffs stamped with my private trade-mark, 
a crucifix and butcher-knife crossed, with motto, 
"By this sign we prosper;" each osseous fence to 
consist of 200,000 skeletons on a side, which is 
400,000 to each avenue. It is remarked with 
satisfaction that it aggregates three or four 
thousand miles (single-ranked) of skeletons, — 
15,000,000 all told — and would stretch across 
America from New York to San Francisco. It 
is remarked further, in the hopeful tone of a 
railroad company forecasting showy extensions 
of its mileage, that my output is 500,000 corpses 
a year when my plant is running full time, and 
that therefore if I am spared ten years longer 
there will be fresh skulls enough to add 175 feet 
to the pyramid, making it by a long way the 
loftiest architectural construction on the earth, 
and fresh skeletons enough to continue the trans- 
continental file (on piles) a thousand miles into 

26 



KING LEOPOLD'S SOLILOQUY 

the Pacific. The cost of gathering the materials 
from my "widely scattered and innumerable 
f)rivate graveyards," and transporting them, and 

- building the monument and the radiating grand 

avenues, is duly ciphered out, running into an 

, aggregate of millions of guineas, and then — 

why then, ( ! ! ! !) this idiot 

asks me to furnish the money! \_Sudden and ef- 
fusive application of the crucifix^ He reminds 
me that my yearly income from the Congo is 
' millions of guineas, and that "o«/y" 5,000,000 
would be required for his enterprise. Every day 
wild attempts are made upon my purse ; they do 
not affect me, they cost me not a thought. But 

'■ this one — this one troubles me, makes me nerv- 
ous ; for there is no telling what an unhinged 

^ creature like this may think of next. . • . // 

' he should think of Carnegie — but I must banish 
that thought out of my mind ! it worries my 
days; it troubles my sleep. That way hes mad- 
ness. [Jfter a pause] There is no other way 
— I have got to buy Carnegie. 

[Harassed and muttering, walks the floor a 
while, then takes to the Consul's - chapter- 
headings again. Reads] 

" Government starved a woman's children to death and 
killed her sons." 

** Butchery of wromen and children." 

"The native has been converted into a being without 
ambition because without hope J''* 

27 



KING LEOPOLD'S SOLILOQUY 



"Women chained by the neck by rubber sentries." 
* 'Women refuse to bear children because, with a baby 
to carry, ihey cannot well run away and hide from the 
soldiers." 

"Statement of a child. * I, my mother, my grandmother 
and my sister, we ran away into the bush. A great number 

of our people were killed by 
the soldiers. . . . 
After that they saw a 
little bit of my 
mother's head, and 
the soldiers ran 
quickly to where 
we were and caught 
my grandmother, 
my mother, my 
sister and another little 
one younger than us. 
Each wanted my 
mother for a wife, 
and argued about it, 
so they finally decided 
to kill her. They shot her through the stomach with a 
gun and she fell, and when I saw that I cried very much, 
because they killed my grandmother and mother and I was 
left alone. I saw it all done ! ' " 

It has a sort of pitiful sound, although they 
are only blacks. It carries me back, and back into 
the past, to when my children were little, and 
would fly — to the bush, so to speak — when they 
saw me coming. . . . [Resumes the reading 
of chapter-headings of the Consul's report'] 

28 




"Women chained by the neck" 




"My yearly income from the Congo is millions of guineas." 

— Page 2/. 



KING LEOPOLD'S SOLILOQUY 

"They put a knife through a child's stomach." 

" They cut off the hands and brought them to C. D. 
(white officer) and spread them out in a row for him to 
see." 

"Captured children left in the bush to die, by the 
soldiers." 

*' Friends came to ransom a captured girl ; but sentry 
refused, saying the white man wanted her because she was 
young." 

«* Extract from a native girl's testimony. ' On our way 
the soldiers saw a little child, 
and when they went to kill it 
the child laughed, so the soldier 
took the butt of his gun and 
struck the child with it and then 
cut off its head. One day they 
killed my half-sister and cut off 
her head, hands and feet, be- 
cause she had bangles on. Then 
they caught another sister, and „o» rHOTOG.Ar». .koko. co«go state. 
sold her to the W. W. people, ..o u r ■ u..u a . 

• r r » Jjomehow — 1 wish it had not 

and now she is a slave there. ' ' ' laughed." 

The little child laughed ! [A long pause. 
Alusingl That innocent creature. Somehow 
— I wish it had not laughed. {^Readsl 

* * Mutilated children . ' ' 

" Govenmaent encouragement of inter-tribal slave-traffic. 
The monstrous fines levied upon villages tardy in their sup- 
plies of foodstuffs compel the natives to sell their fellows — 
and children — to other tribes in order to meet the fine." 

** A father and mother forced to sell their little boy." 

" Widow forced to sell her little girl." 

29 




KING LEOPOLD'S SOLILOQUY 

llrritated'\ Hang the monotonous grum- 
bler, what would he have me do ! Let a widow 
off merely because she Is a widow? He knows 
quite well that there is nothing much left, now, 
but widows. I have nothing against widows, as 
a class, but business is business, and I've got to 
live, haven't I, even if it does cause incon- 
venience to somebody here and there? [Readsl 

" Men intimidated by the torture of their wives and 
daughters. (To make the men furnish rubber and supplies 
and so get their captured women released from chains and 
detention.) The sentry explained to me that he caught the 
women and brought them in (chained together neck to neck) 
by direction of his employer." 

'* An agent explained that he was forced to catch women 
in preference to men, as then the men brought in supplies 
quicker ; but he did not explain how the children deprived 
of their parents obtained their own food supplies." 

"A file of 15 (captured) women." 

"Allowing women and children to die of starvation in 
prison." 

[Musing] Death from hunger. A linger- 
ing, long misery that must be. Days and days, 
and still days and days, the forces of the body 
failing, dribbling away, little by little — yes, it 
must be the hardest death of all. And to see 
food carried by, every day, and you can have 
none of it I Of course the little children cry for 
it, and that wrings the mother's heart. . . . [A 
sigh] Ah, well, it cannot be helped; circum- 
stances make this discipline necessary. [Readsl 

30 



KING LEOPOLD'S SOLILOQUY 
*♦ The crucifying of sixty women ! " 

How Stupid, how tactless! Christendom's 
goose flesh will rise with horror at the news. 
"Profanation of the sacred emblem!" That is 
what Christendom will shout. Yes, Christen- 
dom will buzz. It can hear me charged with 
half a million murders a year for twenty^ years 
and keep its composure, but to profane the Sym- 
bol is quite another matter. It will regard this 
as serious. It will wake up and want to look 
into my record. Buzz? Indeed it will; I seem 
to hear the distant hum already. ... It was 
wrong to crucify the women, clearly wrong, man- 
ifestly wrong, I can see it now, myself, and am 
sorry it happened, sincerely sorry. I believe it 
would have answered just as well to skin them. 
. . . IfVith a sighl But none of us thought 
of that; one cannot think of everything; and 
after all it is but human to err. 

It will make a stir, it surely will, these cruci- 
fixions. Persons will begin to ask again, as now 
and then in times past, how I can hope to win 
and keep the respect of the human race if I con- 
tinue to give up my life to murder and pillage. 
[Scornfully'l When have they heard me say 
I wanted the respect of the human race? Do 
they confuse me with the common herd? do they 
forget that I am a king ? What king has valued 
the respect of the human race? I mean deep 
down in his private heart. If they would reflect, 

31 



KING LEOPOLD'S SOLILOQUY 



they would know that it is impossible that 
a king should value the respect of the 
human race. He stands upon an eminence 



an 



d looks out over 




" He stands upon an eminence." 
'Made on just their own pattern." 



the world and sees 
multitudes of meek 
human things wor- 
shiping the persons, 
and submitting to the 
oppressions and exac- 
tions, of a dozen 
human things who are 
in no way better or 
finer than themselves — 
made on just their own 
pattern, in fact, and 
out of the same quality of mud. When it talks, 
it is a race of whales; but a king knows it for a 
race of tadpoles. Its history gives it away. If 
men were really men, how could a Czar be pos- 
sible ? and how could I be possible ? But we are 
possible; we are quite safe; and with God's help 
we shall continue the business at the old stand. 
It will be found that the race will put up with 
us, in its docile immemorial way. It may pull 
a wry face now and then, and make large talk, 
but it will stay on its knees all the same. 

Making large talk is one of its specialties. It 
works itself up, and froths at the mouth, and just 
when you think it is going to throw a brick, — it 
heaves a poeml Lord, what a race it isl 



3* 



KING LEOPOLD'S SOLILOQUY 

[Reads] A CZAR— 1905 

**A pasteboard autocrat ; a despot out of date ; 
A fading planet in the glare of day ; 
A flickering candle in the bright sun's ray. 
Burnt to the socket ; fruit left too late. 

High on a blighted bough, ripe till it's rotten. 

By God forsaken and by time forgotten. 
Watching the crumbling edges of his lands, 

A spineless god to whom dumb millions pray. 

From Finland in the West to far Cathay, 
Lord of a frost-boimd continent he stands. 

Her seeming ruin his dim mind appalls. 
And in the frozen stupor of his sleep 

He hears dull thunders, pealing as she falls. 
And mighty fragments dropping in the deep."* 

It is fine, one is obliged to concede it; it is a 
great picture, and impressive. The mongrel 
handles his pen well. Still, with opportunity, I 
would cruci — flay him. . . . "A spineless 
god." It is the Czar to a dot — a god, and spine- 
less; a royal invertebrate, poor lad; soft-hearted 
and out of place. "A spineless god to ivhom 
dumb millions pray." Remorselessly correct; 
concise, too, and compact — the soul and spirit of 
the human race compressed into half a sen- 
tence. On their knees — 140,000,000. On 
their knees to a little tin deity. Massed to- 
gether, they would stretch away, and away, and 
away, across the plains, fading and dimming and 
failing in a measureless perspective — why, even 

•B. H. Nadal, in New York Times. 

22 



KING LEOPOLD'S SOLILOQUY 

the telescope's vision could not reach to the final 
frontier of that continental spread of human ser- 
vility. Now why should a king value the respect 
of the human race? It is quite unreasonable to 
expect it. A curious race, certainly! It finds 
fault with me and with my occupations, and for- 
gets that neither of us could exist an hour with- 
out its sanction. It is our confederate and all- 
powerful protector. It is our bulwark, our 
friend, our fortress. For this it has our grati- 
tude, our deep and honest gratitude — but not 
our respect. Let it snivel and fret and grumble 
if it likes; that is all right; we do not mind that. 
[Turns over leaves of a scrapbook, pausing 
now and then to read a clipping and make a 
comment~\ The poets — how they do hunt that 
poor Czar! French, Germans, English, Ameri- 
cans — they all have a bark at him. The finest 
and capablest of the pack, and the fiercest, are 
Swilburne (English, I think), and a pair of 
Americans, Thomas Bailey Eldridge and Colon- 
el Richard Waterson Gilder, of the sentimental 
periodical called Century Magazine and Louis- 
ville Courier-Journal. They certainly have ut- 
tered some very strong yelps. I can't seem to 
find them — I must have mislaid them. . . . 
If a poet's bite were as terrible as his bark, why 
dear me — but it isn't. A wise king minds 
neither of them; but the poet doesn't know it. 
It's a case of little dog and lightning express. 

34 



KING LEOPOLD'S SOLILOQUY 

When the Czar goes thundering by, the poet 
skips out and rages alongside for a little dis- 
tance, then returns to his kennel wagging his 
head with satisfaction, and thinks he has inflicted 
a memorable scare, whereas nothing has really 
happened — the Czar didn't know he was around. 
They never bark at me; I wonder why that is. 
I suppose my Corruption-Department buys 
them. That must be it, for certainly I ought to 
Inspire a bark or two; I'm rather choice mate- 
rial, I should say. Why — here is a yelp at me. 
[Mumbling a poemi 

**. . . What gives thee holy right to murder hope 
And water ignorance with human blood ? 
• • • • • • 

From what high universe-dividing power 
Draws* t thou thy wondrous, ripe brutality? 

• • • • • • 

O horrible . . . Thou God who seest these things 
Help us to blot this terror from the earth." 

. . . No, I see It Is "To the Czar," * after 
all. But there are those who would say It fits 
me — and rather snugly, too. "Ripe brutality." 
They would say the Czar's isn't ripe yet, but that 
mine is; and not merely ripe but rotten. Noth- 
ing could keep them from saying that; they 
would think It smart. "This terror." Let the 
Czar keep that name; I am supplied. This long 
time I have been "the monster"; that was their 

•Louise Morgan Sill, in Harper's Weekly. 

35 



KING LEOPOLD'S SOLILOQUY 

favorite — the monster of crime. But now I 
have a new one. They have found a fossil 
Dinosaur fifty-seven feet long and sixteen feet 
high, and set It up In the museum in New 
York and labeled It "Leopold II." But It 
Is no matter, one does not look for manners 
In a republic. Um . . . that reminds me; 
I have never been caricatured. Could It be 
that the corsairs of the pencil could not 
find an offensive symbol that was big enough 
and ugly enough to do my reputation justice? 
{^After reflection'] There Is no other way — I 
will buy the Dinosaur. And suppress It. {^Rests 
himself with some more chapter-headings. 
Reads] 

*' More mutilation of children." (Hands cut off.) 
*• Testimony of American Missionaries." 
** Evidence of British Missionaries." 

It Is all the same old thing — tedious repeti- 
tions and duplications of shop-worn episodes; 
mutilations, murders, massacres, and so on, and 
so on, till one gets drowsy over It. Mr. Morel 
Intrudes at this point, and contributes a comment 
which he could just as well have kept to himself 
— and throws in some Italics, of course; these 
people can never get along without itahcs: 

"It is one heartrending story of human misery from 
beginning to end, and it is all recent.*^ 

Meaning 1904 and 1905. I do not see how a 
36 



KING LEOPOLD'S SOLILOQUY 

person can act so. This Morel is a king's sub- 
ject, and reverence for monarchy should have 
restrained him from reflecting upon me with that 
exposure. This Morel is a reformer; a Congo 
reformer. That sizes him up. He publishes a 
sheet in Liverpool called "The West African 
Mail," which is supported by the voluntary con- 
tributions of the sap-headed and the 
soft-hearted; and every week it 
steams and reeks and festers with 
up-to-date "Congo atrocities" of 
the sort detailed in this pile of 
pamphlets here. I will suppress 
it. I suppressed a Congo atrocity 
book there, after it was actually 
in print; it should not be 
difficult for me to suppress a 
newspaper. 

[Studies some photographs of 
mutilated negroes — throws them 
down. Sighsl The kodak has 

i_ 1 • , , nni "The only witness 

been a sore calamity to us. The i wouldn't bribe- 
most powerful enemy that has 
confronted us, indeed. In the early years 
we had no trouble in getting the press to 
"expose" the tales of the mutilations as 
slanders, lies, inventions of busy-body American 
missionaries and exasperated foreigners who had 
found the "open door" of the Berlin-Congo 
charter closed against them when they inno- 

37 




KING LEOPOLD'S SOLILOQUY 

cently went out there to trade; and by the press's 
help we got the Christian nations everywhere to 
turn an irritated and unbelieving ear to those 
tales and say hard things about the tellers of 
them. Yes, all things went harmoniously and 
pleasantly in those good days, and I was looked 
up to as the benefactor of a down-trodden and 
friendless people. Then all of a sudden came 
the crash! That is to say, the incorruptible 
kodak — and all the harmony went to hell ! The 
only witness I have encountered in my long ex- 
perience that I couldn't bribe. Every Yankee 
missionary and every interrupted trader sent 
home and got one; and now — oh, well, the pic- 
tures get sneaked around everywhere, in spite of 
all we can do to ferret them out and suppress 
them. Ten thousand pulpits and ten thousand 
presses are saying the good word for me all the 
time and placidly and convincingly denying the 
mutilations. Then that trivial little kodak, that 
a child can carry in its pocket, gets up, uttering 
never a word, and knocks them dumb I 

.... What is this fragment? [Reads^ 

"But enough of crying to tally off his crimes ! His list 
is interminable, we jhould never get to the end of it. His 
awful shadow lies across his Congo Free State, and under 
it an unoffending nation of 15,000,000 is withering away 
and swiftly succumbing to their miseries. It is a land of 
graves ; it is The Land of Graves ; it is the Congo Free 

38 




sou r-o-c-j' 



"The pictures get sneaked around everywhere." — Page j8. 



KING LEOPOLD'S SOLILOQUY 

Graveyard. It is a majestic thought : that is, this ghastliest 
episode in all human history is the work of one man alone ; 
one solitary man; just a single individual — Leopold, King of 
the Belgians. He is personally and solely responsible for all 
the myriad crimes that have blackened the history of the 
Congo State. He is sole master there; he is absolute. He 
could have prevented the crimes by his mere command ; he 
could stop them today writh a virord. He withholds the 
word. For his pocket's sake. 

It seems strange to see a king destroying a nation and lay- 
ing waste a country for mere sordid money's sake, and solely 
and only for that. Lust of conquest is royal; kings have always 
exercised that stately vice ; we are used to it, by old habit 
we condone it, perceiving a certain dignity in it ; but lust of 
mones — lust of shillings — lust of nickels — lust of dirty coin, 
not for the nation's enrichment but for the king^s alone — thi» 
is new. It distinctly revolts us, we cannot seem to recon- 
cile ourselves to it, we resent it, we despise it, we say it is 
shabby, unkingly, out of character. Being democrats we 
ought to jeer and jest, we ought to rejoice to see the purple 
dragged in the dirt, but — well, account for it as we may, we 
don't. We see this awful king, this pitiless and bl:od- 
drenched king, this money-crazy king towering toward the 
sky in a world-solitude of sordid crime, unfellowed and apart 
from the human race, sole butcher for personal gain findable 
in all his caste, ancient or modern, pagan or Christian, 
proper and legitimate target for the scorn of the lowest and 
the highest, and the execrations of all who hold in cold 
esteem the oppressor and the coward; and — well, it is a 
mystery, but we do not uisb to look ; for he is a Hng, and it 
hurts us, it troubles us, by ancient and inherited instinct it 
shames us to see a king degraded to thu aspect, and we shrink 

39 



KING LEOPOLD'S SOLILOQUY 

from hearing the particulars of how it happened. We shud- 
der and turn away when we come upon them in print." 

Why, certainly — that is my protection. And 
you will continue to do it. I know the human 
race. 




FROM PHOTOGRAPH, IKOKO, CONGO STATE. 



' To THEM It must appear 
very awful and 
mysterious." 
.Joseph Con- 
rad. 



40 



AN ORIGINAL MISTAKE 

" This work of ' civilization' is 
an enormous and continual 
butchery." " All the facts we 
brought forward in this cham- 
ber were denied at first most 
'energetically ; but later, little 
by little, they were proved by documents and by official texts. " 
" The practice of cutting off hands is said to be contrary 
to instructions ; but you are content to say that indulgence 
must be shown and that this bad habit must be corrected 
' little by little ' and you plead, moreover, that only the hands 
of fallen enemies are cut off, and that if hands are cut off 
• enemies ' not quite dead, and who, after recovery, have 
had the bad taste to come to 
the missionaries and show 
them their stumps, it was 
due to an original mistake in 
thinking that they were 
dead." From Debate in Bel- 
gian Parliament, J^b't ^9^3- 



SUPPLEMENTARY 



OUGHT HNQ LEOPOLD TO BE HANGED?* 

INTKBVIEW BY MR. W. T. STEAD WITH THE REV, JOHN H. HARRIS, 

BARIMGA, CONGO STATE, IN THE ENGLISH REVIEW OF 

REVIEWS FOR SEPTEMBER, I9O5. 

For the somewhat startling suggestion in the heading ot 
this interview, the missionary interviewed is in no way 
responsible. The credit of it, or, if you like, the discredit, 
belongs entirely to the editor of the Review, who, without 
dogmatism, wishes to pose the question as a matter for serious 
discussion. Since Charles I's head was cut off, opposite 
Whitehall, nearly two hundred and fifty years ago, the sanc- 
tity which doth hedge about a king has been held in slight 
and scant regard by the Puritans and their descendants. 
Hence there is nothing antecedently shocking or outrageous 
in the discussion of the question whether the acts of any 
Sovereign are such as to justify the calling in of the services 
of the public executioner. It is not, of course, for a journal- 
ist to pronounce judgment, but no fvmction of the public 
writer is so imperative as that of calling attention to great 
wrongs, and no duty is more imperious than that of insisting 
that no rank or station should be allowed to shield from 
justice the real criminal when he is once discovered. 

The controversy between the Congo Reform Association 
and the Emperor of the Congo has now arrived at a stage in 
which it is necessary to take a further step towards the 

*The above article which comes to hand as the foregoing is in press 
is commended to the king and to readers of his Soliloquy.— M. T. 

45 



SUPPLEMENTARY 

redress of unspeakable wrongs and the punishment of no less 
unspeakable criminals. The Rev. J. H. Harris, an English 
missionary, has lived for the last seven years in that region 
of Central Africa — the Upper Congo — w^hich King Leo- 
pold has made over to one of his vampire groups of financial 
associates (known as the A.B.LR. Society) on the strictly 
business basis of a half share in the profits wrung from the 
blood and misery of the natives. He has now returned to 
England, and last month he called at Mowbray House to 
tell me the latest from the Congo. Mr. Harris is a young 
roan in a dangerous state of volcanic fury, and no wonder. 
After living for seven years face to face with the devastations 
of the vampire State, it is impossible to deny that he does 
well to be angry. When he began, as is the wont of those 
who have emerged from the depths, to detail horrifying 
stories of murder, the outrage and torture of women, the 
mutilation of children, and the whole infernal category of 
horrors, served up with the background of cannibalism, 
sometimes voluntary and sometimes, incredible though it 
seems, enforced by the orders of the officers, I cut him short, 
and said : — 

" Dear Mr, Harris, as in Oriental despatches the India 
Ofiice translator abbreviates the first page of the letter into 
two words * after compliments,' or 'a.c.,' so let us abbre- 
viate our conversation about the Congo by the two words 
' after atrocities,' or ' a. a.' They are so invariable and so 
monotonous, as Lord Percy remarked in the House the other 
day, that it is unnecessary to insist upon them. There is no 
longer any dispute in the mind of any reasonable person as to 
what is going on in the Congo. It is the economical 
exploitation of half a continent carried on by the use of 
armed force wielded by officials the aim-all and be-all 
of whose existence is to extort the maximum amount of 

46 



OUGHT KING LEOPOLD TO BE HANGED? 

rubber in the shortest possible time in order to pay the 
largest possible dividend to the holders of shares in the con- 
cessions." 

**Well," said Mr. Harris reluctantly, for he is so ac- 
customed to speaking to persons who require to be told the 
whole dismal tale from A to Z, **what is it you want to 
know?" 

"I want to know," I said, "whether you consider the 
time is ripe for summoning King Leopold before the bar of 
an international tribunal to answer for the crimes perpetrated 
under his orders and in his interest in the Congo State." 

Mr. Harris paused for a moment, and then said : — 
'* That depends upon the action which the king takes upon 
the report of the Commission, which is now in his hands." 

*' Is that report published ? " 

*'No," said Mr. Harris ; ** and it is a question whether 
it will ever be published. Greatly to our surprise, the 
Commission, which every one expected would be a mere 
blind whose appointment was intended to throw dust in the 
eyes of the public, turned out to be composed of highly re- 
spectable persons who heard the evidence most impartially, 
refused no bona fide testimony produced by trustworthy wit- 
nesses, and were overwhelmed by the multitudinous horrors 
brought before them, and who, we feel, must have arrived 
at conclusions which necessitate an entire revolution in the 
administration of the Congo." 

*' Are you quite sure, Mr. Harris," I said, **that this is 
so?" 

"Yes," said Mr. Harris, "quite sure. The Commis- 
sion impressed us all in the Congo very favorably. Some of 
its members seemed to us admirable specimens of public- 
spirited, independent statesmen. They realized that they 
were acting in a judicial capacity; they knew that the eyes 

47 



SUPPLEMENTARY 

of Europe were upon them, and, instead of making their in- 
quiry a farce, they made it a reality, and their conclusions 
must be, I feel sure, so damning to the State, that if King 
Leopold were to take no action but to allow the whole 
infernal business to proceed unchecked, any international tri- 
bunal which had powers of a crimal court, would upon the 
evidence of the Commission alone, send those responsible to 
the gallows." 

* 'Unfortunately," I said, "at present the Hague Tri- 
bunal is not armed with the powers of an international assize 
court, nor is it qualified to place oifenders, crowned or other- 
wise, in the dock. But don't you think that in the evolu- 
tion of society the constitution of such a criminal court is a 
necessity ?" 

" It would be a great convenience at present," said Mr. 
Harris ; "nor would you need one atom of evidence be- 
yond the report of the Commission to justify the hanging 
of whoever is responsible for the existence and continuance 
of such abominations." 

" Has anybody seen the text of the report ? " I asked. 

** As the Commission returned to Brussels in March, some 
of the contents of that report are an open secret. A great 
deal of the evidence has been published by the Congo Re- 
form Association. In the Congo the Commissioners admitted 
two things : first, that the evidence was overwhelming as to 
the existence of the evils which had hitherto been denied, and 
secondly, that they vindicated the character of the missiona- 
ries. They discovered, as anyone will who goes out to that 
country, that it is the missionaries, and the missionaries alone, 
who constitute the permanent European element. The 
Congo State officials come out ignorant of the language, 
knowing nothing of the country, and with no other sense of 
their duties beyond that of supporting the concession com- 

48 



OUGHT KING LEOPOLD TO BE HANGED? 

panics in extorting rubber. They are like men who are 
dumb and deaf and blind, nor do they wish to be otherwise. 
In two or three years they vanish, giving place to other 
migrants as ignorant as themselves, whereas the missionaries 
remain on the spot year after year ; they are in personal 
touch with the people, whose language they speak, whose 
customs they respect, and whose lives they endeavor to 
defend to the best of their ability." 

** But, Mr. Harris," I remarked, ** was there not a cer- 
tain Mr. Grenfell, a Baptist Missionary, who has been all 
these years a convinced upholder of the Congo State ? ' ' 

**'Twas true," said Mr. Harris, "and pity *ris 'twas 
true ; but 'tis no longer true. Mr. Grenfell has had his eyes 
opened at last, and he has now taken his place among those 
who are convinced. He could no longer resist the over- 
whelming evidence that has been brought against the Congo 
Adminis tration . " * 

"Was the nature of the Commissioners' repon," I re- 
sumed, "made known to the officials of the State before 
they left the Congo ? ' ' 

**To the head officials — yes," said Mr. Harris. 

"With what result?" 

**In the case of the highest official in the Congo, the man 
who corresponds in Africa to Lord Curzon in India, no 
sooner was he placed in possession of the conclusions of the 
Commission than the appalling significance of their indict- 
ment convinced him that the game was up, and he went into 
his room and cut his throat. I was amazed on returning to 
Europe to find how little the significance of this suicide was 
appreciated. A paragraph in the newspaper announced the 
suicide of a Congo official. None of those who read that 

* Mr. Grenfell's station is in the Lower Congo, a section remote 
from the vast rubber areas of the interior. 

49 



SUPPLEMENTARY | 

paragraph could realize the fact that that suicide had the sam 
significance to the Congo that the suicide, let us say, o 
Lord Milner would have had if it had taken place immed 
iately on receiving the conclusions of a Royal Commissioi 
sent out to report upon his administration in South Africa.". 

**Well, if that be so, Mr. Harris," I said, "and the 
Governor- General cuts his throat rather than face the ordeal 
and disgrace of the exposure, I am almost beginning to hope 
that we may see King Leopold in the dock at the Hague, 
after all." 

"I will comment upon that," Mr. Harris said, "by 
quoting you Mrs. Sheldon's remark made before myself and 
my colleagues, Messrs. Bond, Ellery, Ruskin, Walbaum and 
Whiteside, on May 19th last year, when, in answer to our 
question, 'Why should King Leopold be afraid of submitting 
his case to the Hague tribunal ? ' Mrs. Sheldon answered, 
*Men do not go to the gallows and put their heads in a noose 
if they can avoid it.* " 



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UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO UBRARY 



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Clemens, Samuel Langhome 
King Leopold's soliloquy